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A common challenge we face as an agency is getting our on-site recommendations (that may not yield fast or tangible results) implemented and live on our clients website.
This is a common challenge that is shared internally with some of the clients we work with, the classic “red tape” and “hands are tied” scenario.
The deck is slightly stacked against us due to the nature of this industry.
Most of our recommendations won’t provide immediate, tangible results, or have direct impact on ROI (on the surface) or leads and conversions. In some instances, they may not provide any noticeable performance improvements at all, they are simply best practice. This can make the case for getting things pushed through very challenging.
So I guess that’s it then. Blog over. No point trying.
Well, all is not lost – here are some things you can do to get things moving:
Different stakeholders will have different knowledge levels across different marketing channels, and for SEO for example they may not always automatically understand the importance of H1 tags, removing unnecessary redirects, updating hreflangs, and so on.
As a Scotsman living in England, I face a similar problem nearly every-day with non-educated stakeholders trying to claim that Celtic FC are not the best football team in the world.
It’s an ongoing battle but I am making headway by utilising the below.
A good agency will make good recommendations. A great agency will explain why a client should implement the recommendation. This can include descriptions of the task, benefits they can expect and, ideally, case studies showing where these recommendations have been successful in the past.
I just said it, but I’ll say it again – a great agency will explain why and how a client should implement any recommendation. While a simple guide can be helpful, exceptional service appreciates that different teams are needed to implement different tasks.
Some technical updates will need input from the development team, content improvements might need support from copy writers, and UX or CRO improvements could need input from a designer.
It’s important to go beyond explaining the process and take the time to talk clients through every step and the teams that’ll be involved.
Humans, at their core, like to win! It feels good, and we can’t resist it.
Most – if not all – brands are competing with someone or something else. We’ve historically had success getting tasks implemented by highlighting how client sites are falling behind and losing out to the competition. This is both in terms of organic results, or Ad real estate through PPC and thus losing paid leads – by comparing to the competition you appeal to the notion that most brands like to be first movers in their marketplace, so even if they haven’t fallen behind, presenting an opportunity to get ahead will help win people over.
You can ramp up the benefits of tasks by reminding everyone of the best-case scenario or goal you’re aiming for with any of your recommendations.
Often, we can all get stuck focusing on the smaller aspects of an overall strategy and tied-up in the detail of implementing individual tasks.
By reminding clients that it all works towards more sessions, more page visits, more leads and conversions and ultimately more revenue, can often kick start people into action.
When ‘best case’ hasn’t worked, try doing the opposite!
If after some gentle nudging your client or stakeholder hasn’t made any progress, show them what could happen if they continue to neglect the advice. Time for some graphs and the dreaded downward trend!
By using case studies, projections, and analytics, you can paint a picture of what inaction will bring, not now, but 6-12 months from now. Paint a picture of 18 months in the future with a greatly reduced visibility graph and tie this back into lost leads and therefore revenue.
If executed well, people tend to respond well to this approach when all else has failed.
Once the recommendation has been made, there’s one more way that you can make the process of implementation much more straight forward: execute the work for them.
What separates the great agencies from the top-notch agencies is service. To give the best service, sit in their office and show the client how to carry out the work. Be there on the frontline to deal with any potential problems. Take them out for a beer and find out what motivates them.
At the end of the day, you should see yourself as an extension of their team. This will make them feel valued and can help reduce the size of the task next time around, and free up time for you all to focus on other things!
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